Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Lights Come On

I got home last night to find an old man up a stepladder. His head was inside the fuse box, a cigarette dangled from the corner of his mouth, and he was poking live wires around with the tips of his fingers. "It's all burnt out," translated the woman the school had sent to oversee the work, "but he thinks he can get the power on in one room." "Which one?" I asked. "He doesn't know yet. It's unpredictable. In Ukraine everything is unpredictable."

Two hours later the lights flickered into life, the fridge started humming, and a clock face started flashing on the front of the microwave. "The only problem is the kitchen light," she explained. "If you want to turn it off, you'll have to use the trip switch outside."

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